Air travel

How To Get Through The Airport Faster

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Flying out of a busy passenger airport can be very stressful, tiring, and time-consuming.

Most of the time, it’s hard to estimate how early one should be at the airport because of the long security and check-in lines. This normally happens when you’re traveling during the holiday season or the busiest days at the airport.

Well, according to TSA, travelers taking domestic flights should arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early, while those taking international flights should arrive 3 hours early.

In any case, arriving early will in no doubt save you the stress and time spent at the airport.

This article will show you how you can have an easy time at the airport and generally save time in the airport.

A study has shown that more than30% of travelers traveling by plane arrive at their destinations late than planned, and more than 25% miss their booked flights due to lateness.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • Travel tips before and after arriving at the airport
  • How to skip a line at the airport
  • How you can get through airport security faster

How do you get through the airport quickly and efficiently?

  • Have your boarding pass ready
  • Know how long it will take to get to the airport
  • Avoid crowded and busy airports
  • Skip a line at the airport (We have discussed more of that below)

Tips before and after you arrive at the airport

  • Have your boarding pass ready

If you use your boarding pass on your mobile, make a point of taking its screenshot.

This helps a lot, especially when there is no good internet connection or if you assumed you would use the airline’s app to present the boarding pass. 

In addition, in as much as you can’t completely rely on your airline’s app for the boarding pass, it is also not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

Having said this, it can save you a bunch if you take it to the next level and print your boarding pass and have it with you in hand. 

You never know what might happen to your phone – it may get stolen, run out of battery, or get misplaced.

See also:

MSP Airport Parking Rates & Best MSP Offsite Airport Parking.

LAX Airport Parking Rates & Best Parking at LAX.

Boarding pass FAQs to help save time at the airport.

How do I get your boarding pass online?

Visit the airline’s website, then go to the check-in information to access your boarding pass.

Another option is to go to the airline’s app to access the boarding pass.

How do I get my boarding pass on my phone?

Check in on the airline’s website and choose the email option to have the boarding pass emailed to you. Then check your email from your mobile device and click the mobile boarding pass link to download the boarding pass.

Can I print a boarding pass at home?

Yes, you can print your boarding pass from home right after check-in online. You will get to see the print option on most airlines’ websites.

See also: Online air tickets scams and how to avoid them

  • Know how long it will take to get to the airport

Find out about the traffic and the maximum duration you might take in traffic. 

Consider the weather condition. For instance, if there’s bad weather, you would most likely spend more time on the road.

And if you will be using public transport, find out how long it will take to get to the airport. For instance, in developing countries, traveling by public transport may take a longer time compared to uber/taxi.

  • Always avoid crowded and busy airports

Here are the 10 busiest airports in the United States (by passenger traffic)

NO.AIRPORTLOCATION


1
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport Atlanta, Georgia

2
Los Angeles International AirportLos Angeles, California


3
O’Hare International AirportChicago, Illinois


4
Dallas/Fort Worth International AirportDallas-Fort Worth, Texas

5
Denver International AirportDenver, Colorado

6
John F. Kennedy International AirportQueens, New York, New York

7
San Francisco International AirportSan Mateo County, California

8
McCarran International AirportLas Vegas, Nevada

9
Seattle-Tacoma International AirportSeaTac, Washington

10
Charlotte Douglas International AirportCharlotte, North Carolina
Data from Wikipedia.org

Airports With the Longest Delays in the United States (US)

RankCityAirportPercent of Flights Arriving Late (APRX)Average Delay Across Flights (APRX)
1NewarkNewark Liberty International27%22 minutes
2New YorkLaGuardia25%19 minutes
3ChicagoChicago O’Hare International26%19 minutes
4BostonLogan International22%17 minutes
5DallasDallas/Fort Worth International23%16 minutes
6San FranciscoSan Francisco International22%16 minutes
7Fort LauderdaleFort Lauderdale-Hollywood International22%16 minutes
8DenverDenver International22%15 minutes
9MiamiMiami International22%15 minutes
10ChicagoChicago Midway22%13 minutes
Data from visualcapitalist.com

See also: How to Plan A Trip For Someone Else (Steps Involved).

U.S. Airports with the Fewest Delays

RankCityAirportPercent of Flights Arriving LateAverage Delay Across Flights
1HonoluluDaniel K Inouye International11%7 minutes
2AnchorageTed Stevens Anchorage International11%7 minutes
3LihueLihue Airport10%8 minutes
4Long BeachLong Beach Airport13%8.4 minutes
5SacramentoSacramento International14%8.6 minutes
Data from insuremytrip.com

How do I skip a line at the airport?

Being a member of either TSA Pre or Clear will help you skip lines at the airport. These are some of the best ways on how you can avoid long lines at the airport.

  1. TSA Pre✓  
Image Credit: TSA PreCheck

With TSA Pre✓, you can save time and all the stress while going through security checks. 

I mean, you won’t have to remove your shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, and liquids at the airport security checks. 

Members of this program get access to expedited security lines that are usually separate from the non-members.

All you have to do is find out if the TSA Pre✓® lanes are available at your airport.

But let’s assume they are not available. You will then have to show your TSA Pre✓® boarding pass to receive expedited screening in a standard lane.

Its membership also does come with a five-year, $85 membership fee.

And the good news is you can find it in more than 200 airports and 73 airlines.

  1. Get CLEAR Expedited Security
Image Credit: Clearme.com

TSA Pre✓ may not be of much help at times, especially in some of the busiest airports.

Therefore, you should consider enrolling in CLEAR expedited security, which allows you to have the option of bypassing the entire security line.

All you have to do is to go to a CLEAR kiosk and get your identity verified either by an iris scan or a fingerprint, which will only take a few minutes. 

After this process is completed, a CLEAR representative will take you to PreCheck/ regular screening line and place you right next to the person at the front.

You will then be needed to hand in your boarding pass to the TSA agent and proceed to the actual security screening later on. 

CLEAR is available in over 51 airports in the US.

The membership fee for CLEAR Plus is $179 per year.

Members can also add up to 3 family members for $50/each per year.

Children under 18 do not need to pay for a membership. They need to tag along with the CLEAR member.

Can I bring a guest through clear

Yes, but only if the guest is under the age of 18 or is added to the list by the Clear member. A Clear member can add up to 3 family members for $50 per year.

  1. Pick your flight times wisely

Avoid going for flights that depart at peak travel times.

Peak times include Friday afternoons, mostly because most business travelers are heading home and the leisure travelers are heading on to their weekend trips.

Here are the worst months to travel on most US airlines

MonthAverage Delay (in minutes)
July76
June72
August71
April71
May70
February69
January68
September67
March65
November62
December60
October59
Data from insuremytrip.com

How to get through the airport quickly and efficiently

  • Check-in online.
  • Pack wisely.
  • Pick the right line.
  • Use travel apps to track waiting lines.
  • Be a member of TSA Pre
  • Become a Clear member.

There are simply many things that you can do to speed up the security process and make it as seamless as possible with just a few takeaway tips.

Let’s dig deeper into that:

  1. Check-in online

Today most airlines allow travelers to use their airline apps to check-in online and get their boarding pass available on their phones.

Checking in online saves you time because you’re able to skip the check-in process. This means that all you will have to do is drop your luggage for checking at the counter. 

And at other times, you may end up completely avoiding the check-in line in airports that have separate lines for bag drop-off.

So, What is needed to check-in online?

You will need to provide the passenger’s name, booking confirmation number, and sometimes depending on the airline, you can check in with the credit card number.

However, if you did not book your flight directly with the airline’s website and instead use Expedia sites, there is no need to use the booking confirmation number. Use the airline’s reservation code from the third-party booking site during the online check-in process.

Is it better to check-in online or at the airport?

Yes, it is better to check in online because it allows travelers to check in from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection, unlike airport check-in.

Additionally, online check-in is better since it allows you to save time at the airport because you will skip the check-in kiosks.

Why can’t I do online check-in?

  • TSA has randomly selected you for secondary screening.
  • Missing passport – this means the airport does not have your passport on their file (only applies to international flights).
  • Many people under the same booking reservations. This happens mostly when traveling as a large group.
  • You requested the airline for some special assistance e.g wheelchair.
  • Airline codeshare. You will not be able to check in online if your first flight is operated by a codeshare partner.
  1. Pack wisely 

Make sure you go through the TSA regulations, so you don’t end up packing anything that is not allowed in your luggage. This minimizes more time-wasting at the security check-in.

Pro Tip: Pack your liquids last – these include any liquids, creams, pastes, gels, and aerosols. And another thing, you should consider packing them in a clear plastic bag so that once you are at the security check-in, you’re able to easily pull them out without wasting much time.

Related: How to travel with perishable food for long hours

  1. Pick the right line

Okay, this might seem obvious to many, but I am still going to stress it.

If you do not have the privilege of having a CLEAR or trusted traveler membership, you can try and get in a line that seems to be moving fast. 

For instance, these kinds of lines have more business travelers and few families and kids travelers.  

  1. Use travel apps to track waiting time

That’s right.

You can take advantage of the traveling apps for updates on the security waiting time.

A few examples of these apps include the MyTSA, Terminal Buddy, and MiFlight apps.

With these apps, you will have a clear estimate of how long it will take you to complete all the airport check-in procedures, thus helping you plan on the time you should be at the airport.

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.